Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trip Report : 2 Days at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Cruise Portion of the Trip!) CASTAWAY CAY

     Castaway a word....AWESOME! Just above is the view of the Dream docking in Castaway Cay. The ship eased in so quietly and gently. We all gazed out to see the tie up of the ship and then scurried on down to disembark. Of course we already had breakfast and were ready to go as some of the first off the ship. It's interesting, some folks take their time and get off later. You can get on and off the ship as you please on Castaway Cay. It was only the Dream docked that day so just us! 
     Once we were off the ship we noticed the small "post office". You can mail postcards and such to get this tropical address stamped on your mailings. Our plan, which worked perfectly, was for three of us to "tram" our way over to Serenity Bay (adults only) get some seats and then "tram" back to our group for a prearranged snorkeling excursion. 
     So got on the tram....took a nice Disney ride to the other side where we saw this:

     It was so lovely. The sand was beautiful, the water clear and blue. So quiet and peaceful. Seriously, we were all in awe. This is the definition of vacation for me. There are plenty of loungers with umbrellas. We never saved any seats on the ship for lounging and found out that we really didn't need to...that was essentially the same here. Plenty of seats and with just one ship...we were good. However, I will say this..just to take that tram and see a bit of the island and see that deserted beach early in the really was worth it. Once we headed back on the tram (and they come often so no problem traveling the island), we really had something to look forward to in the way of relaxing after what is soon to be a bit of craziness with snorkeling!!
     SNORKELING....well it was interesting. The check-in was right back near the ship. Very easy of course and we had already pre-booked on Disney Cruise Line within our reservation. It was $55 per person. I believe about a 2 hour trip. So the five of us headed out on a catamaran of sorts (I need to get my boat lingo straight but let's just stick with that-a medium sized craft intending to take 30ish or more people out at a decent speed). We found seats to enjoy the ride and were provided instructions as to what would happen with our excursion and then our snorkel life vest (yellow, much, much smaller and more compact than a regular life vest), our goggles, snorkel and fins.  
     It was fun for everyone to get their gear on. We looked like a bunch of inexperienced snorkelers and we were. I was the only one in our group to have done it and I have only gone twice. The boat has a deck that you can ease into the water via steps or just jump off the side. I think for the most part everyone jumped. My mom...she eased. We had one in our group get a bit of anxiety but she worked it through. My mom seemed like she was really struggling. It turns out that she had fins that were slipping off and in turn I think she was so worried about losing them that it kind of ruined her snorkeling experience. She told me after that she really enjoyed the water...looking at fish....etc. but those fins were driving her nuts. All in all it was totally fine and a fun experience. Going out on the boat and riding back in was definitely worth it. Here's the view of some of our group snorkeling and then coming back to the dock....

     After snorkeling, we dumped our wet towels, grabbed a few more and took a short walk to the tram for a ride over to Serenity Bay (you can walk from beach to beach by the way-but not sure why you would??). We did stop along the way to look at some cute kiosks of Disney Castaway Cay merchandise. There are some things here you can't get on the ship. I purchased several post cards and some little nick-knacks. The shops are very cute, simple and if you need some beach necessities, they have it. 
     Side note here...the 5k takes place a bit early in the morning on Castaway Cay and I believe it is a regular occurrence for all ships. I could not think of anything I would rather do less than a 5k for me personally but maybe I am being narrow minded. When we took that first tram to get seats on Serenity Bay, several folks were running/walking an assigned course to get their exercise on! There is an old run way on this island. It serves as part of the tram road but also a place for part of the 5k and bike rides. Anther side note: bike rentals are $10 and you can ride over to an old tower and take a look at the island from there. 
     So back to the tram...we rode back over to Serenity Bay, settled in and enjoyed the water, drinks and just generally relaxed the say away. Lunch was very close and there was a lot to choose from. Kinda like a BBQ with meat, salads, drinks and ice cream of course. Everyone liked lunch. 
     Late in the day some of us had our chairs (those low ones) parked at water's edge just sipping frozen margaritas, watching the water, listening to the sounds (a storm moving in slowly) and really enjoying the day. We also walked along the beach (and you can go quite a distance) looking for sea shells. There are shells to be found but this particular beach has lots of the super tiny shells. We ended our day by bobbing in the water only to get out at the last possible time to catch a final tram. I think it was close to 5pm. We must have been the last people on the ship and it was great. Took some final pictures and headed on board with no fuss or muss. Perfect day!